Lib Dems will raise a penny-on-the-pound to pay for NHS. Could it work?

  • The question is can the NHS be fixed just by throwing money at it?


    Plenty of people will argue it can't saying it needs completely reforming, and everyone wants lower taxation, but no one can suggest how to reform and fix it so it is fit for purpose yet still free to all at the point of delivery, so what is the answer?

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • Paddy Ashdown, then Lib Dem leader, tried a similar scheme in the 1992 election...it became known as Paddy's Penny.


    it didn't work then either. People won't vote for higher taxes. The perception is always, "you take enough of my money already, spend it more sensibly".

    Mark

  • The question is can the NHS be fixed just by throwing money at it?


    Plenty of people will argue it can't saying it needs completely reforming, and everyone wants lower taxation, but no one can suggest how to reform and fix it so it is fit for purpose yet still free to all at the point of delivery, so what is the answer?

    Exactly. I'm going to create a "super topic" on this subject, but I reckon it needs more than just throwing money at it.


    I've been having and still having a lot of "experience" with the NHS at the moment and have seen its good points and its bad. Throwing a bit more money at it, will not work in my opinion.

  • Paddy Ashdown, then Lib Dem leader, tried a similar scheme in the 1992 election...it became known as Paddy's Penny.


    it didn't work then either. People won't vote for higher taxes. The perception is always, "you take enough of my money already, spend it more sensibly".


    I honestly don't remember that, but loads of people see what's going on and the huge waste in the system, so I'm not surprised that even back then, just raising a bit more tax was rejected.

  • I honestly don't remember that, but loads of people see what's going on and the huge waste in the system, so I'm not surprised that even back then, just raising a bit more tax was rejected.


    Ok my memory failed me slightly but I was almsot right and the point stands.


    1. It was 1997 not 1992
    2. The 'penny' was for education not the NHS.


    LINK

    Mark

  • .... Education is different I think, and something which might be suitable for the one penny raise. But health is an entirely different issue as my waistline will testify to!

  • .... Education is different I think, and something which might be suitable for the one penny raise. But health is an entirely different issue as my waistline will testify to!


    I think it played to the same dynamic. Education was a bigger hot potato at the time than it is now (remember Blair's "education, education, education" mantra from the same period). And the issue remained the same - people won't vote for tax rises because they already consider that the government takes too much of their money as it is.

    Mark

  • If they're pledging £6b for the NHS it'll be more like 2p in the pound extra. I don't hold with just throwing money at a problem to solve it. In the long run it just gets wasted.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • I think it played to the same dynamic. Education was a bigger hot potato at the time than it is now (remember Blair's "education, education, education" mantra from the same period). And the issue remained the same - people won't vote for tax rises because they already consider that the government takes too much of their money as it is.


    I think if people genuinely thought that their money would be efficiently used, they might be amenable to some tax rises. But no government of any colour is ever any good at running anything, let alone doing something in a efficient and cost effective way.



    If they're pledging £6b for the NHS it'll be more like 2p in the pound extra. I don't hold with just throwing money at a problem to solve it. In the long run it just gets wasted.

    I think with eduction, it's a different kettle of fish, and you can spend your way out of problem ie by employing decent teachers, having half decent equipment and buildings etc. But health is a deep, dark pit that will just suck up whatever money is thrown down into it. No politician will do what needs to be done and reform the whole system because they know they will never get re-elected. So, we keep going round in circles.

  • If they're pledging £6b for the NHS it'll be more like 2p in the pound extra. I don't hold with just throwing money at a problem to solve it. In the long run it just gets wasted.


    Would £6bn even touch the sides anyway? The budget for the NHS (England) is £120bn, so while £6bn sounds a lot, in the grand scheme of things........

  • ...it would just be a sticking plaster over a wound that gets larger and larger and never heals.


    Not sure what the solution is tbh. We have an ever expanding population, so costs can only go one way......upwards.

  • The solution is one the politicians won't touch until they really have no other choice, and in some regards, we're almost at that point now.


    Ie, do we keep treating alcoholics who keep drinking?


    We do not have the medical knowledge to treat their addiction currently and I believe it is an addiction, a disease. So, do we keep dealing with all the consequences that alcoholism brings to bear on the NHS, or say there's a cut off point? A vote loser for any politician...

  • The solution is one the politicians won't touch until they really have no other choice, and in some regards, we're almost at that point now.


    Ie, do we keep treating alcoholics who keep drinking?


    We do not have the medical knowledge to treat their addiction currently and I believe it is an addiction, a disease. So, do we keep dealing with all the consequences that alcoholism brings to bear on the NHS, or say there's a cut off point? A vote loser for any politician...


    I suppose the difficulty with that is defining an alcoholic, or indeed someone who isn't, but has damaged themselves through drinking. Would it even save much anyway? Are there any figures for the costs of treating alcohol related illness? Then there's the argument that heavy drinkers are paying more in to the exchequer through duty. Same with smoking, which from memory makes well over double in duty/VAT than it costs the NHS to treat smoking related illness.


    I don't like the idea of withholding treatment from people, beyond say liver transplants. If someone won't give up drinking after knackering their own organs then they shouldn't be getting one to do the same thing to.


    Admittedly it's a difficult one when money is short though.

  • I think the costs far out weigh the tax income of smokers and drinkers and those (like me) with a ever growing waistline.


    Take the drinkers, you have the costs of A&E, so that's what about £400-£500 for an ambulance, assuming one is used. Another £500 for an initial check by a nurse/and or junior doctor, then you're getting to lots more money if they're seen by a consultant and that's before any actual treatment.


    But then you have all the effects that alcohol has on the body, liver, as you mention being the obvious one. But heart disease, cancer, blindness etc the list and costs go on for treating all of this.


    On the definition of a alcoholic, really that is quite easy. Anything that is above the normal amount to drink which is one drink for a woman and two per day for a man. I take your point though, some might not be drunk and weeing in the streets etc, but are still perfectly normal beyond the higher intake of drink.

  • Money isn't the only problem in the NHS but I don't think anybody would miss paying a penny in the pound more. But the magic word in these cases is 'ring fenced.' And of course, we need to be sure that the money raised in this way won't be taken off the normal NHS budget.


  • Smoking is quite a money maker, even when you take into account NHS costs. Not surprising when you consider how much of a packet of fags costs


    https://fullfact.org/economy/does-sm...akes-treasury/


    Seems booze is similar


    http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/alcoho...524090.article

  • But the costs of treating smoking/alcohol related disease far out weigh the revenue that they bring in.


    Not according to the articles I posted. The government make about twice as much as it costs the NHS. Then there are further savings with people dying earlier, not getting as much pension, not needing looking after in old age etc.


    Smoking cost of treatment between £3 billion and £6 billion. Tax take £12 billion.


    Alcohol cost to NHS, police, welfare etc £4 billion. Tax take £10 billion.

  • I genuinely don't think those figure are accurate Tabasco, at least for the smokers. The link for the alcohol figures doesn't work.


    Think of how many times ambulances are sent to pick up drunks at £500 a pop and that's before any nurse or doctor gets to see them. Then there's all the complication when they get seriously ill. Yes, some of them might die off before their get to their pension age, but not all of them.

  • Strange it was working earlier. There are loads more along the same lines if you Google.


    Smoking is definitely a big money maker. According the The NHS it costs them about £5bn/year. According to the treasury it makes them £12.3 billion a year. It's not surprising if you think about it. If you smoke 20 a day, you pay £6.98 to the government (tax on a packet of 20), so just over £2,500 a year. That would buy you some pretty decent health insurance in the private sector.


    Then as I say there are further savings. Less pension on average being a big one.

  • A basic scan to check for cancer is something like £500, and then more advanced scans would be required. The treatment for chemotherapy is huge, so I'm sure how reliable those figures are. Don't forget some illness' may not be logged as smoking related, so may not be included in those stats.

  • A basic scan to check for cancer is something like £500, and then more advanced scans would be required. The treatment for chemotherapy is huge, so I'm sure how reliable those figures are. Don't forget some illness' may not be logged as smoking related, so may not be included in those stats.


    It's the other way round. If you smoke and you get lung cancer, heart disease etc then it's classed as a smoking related illness, even though non-smokers get these things all the time. If anything the figures for cost to the NHS are inflated.


    I'm not sure how much chemo costs, but if a smoker needs it after say 30 years of smoking they've got £75,000 'in the bank' so to speak. Well more actually because duty rises every year by inflation + 2%. It's why politicians here and around the world are so worried about vaping. They're worried about a big chunk of their cash cow disappearing.


    Then smokers die 10 years earlier om average. So that's another £80,000 in the bank from pension savings as far as the government is concerned. It really is a massive money spinner when you think about it.

  • Blimey, that's interesting Tabasco. So the government have a real incentive to keep people unhealthy. Nice to know money rules over people's health.


    Yes, it's why they tinker round the edges, but would never dream of banning it. Stuff like plain packaging and hiding fags behind shutters in shops, that they know will have little/no effect. A smoker is the perfect citizen for the exchequer. They likely live long enough to pay income tax all their life, pay a load extra in tobacco duty, then draw ten years less pension on average. They are less likely to get dementia, because they often don't live long enough to develop it. So a much lower social care bill. Also a lower chance of stuff like their joints wearing out, so less of those expensive hip/knee replacements. From a purely financial point of view the government loves them.

  • I hope one day Tabasco, we'll have leaders who genuinely want to help the people in things such as their health rather than wishing the worst for them. But, the figures you posted speak for themselves.


    I actually know of a very recent case of a alcoholic who did make it to old bones, so as you say, the costs associated with dementia will never be a issue for these kinds of people.


    Good posts. Thanks!

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